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SBC DIGEST: SEBTS hosts fourth annual AMS conference, announces Renew Conference

SEBTS conference offers training, encouragement for associational missions strategists

By Chad Burchett/SEBTS

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted its fourth Annual Mission Strategist (AMS) Conference for ministry leaders, pastors, and associational leaders from 14 states.

“I honestly believe many of our biggest obstacles in North American missions today find their best answers at the local association,” said Keelan Cook, instructor of missiology and George Liele Director of the Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies at SEBTS. “I am convinced our local Baptist associations are one of the most strategic layers of ministry in our Convention.”

During the Aug. 9-10 conference, speakers reminded associational leaders that they are uniquely positioned to equip, mobilize and network local churches, enabling fruitful partnerships for regional ministry. Associational leaders not only support healthy multiplying churches but also help to revitalize or replant declining and plateauing churches. As a trusted encouragement to local churches, the ministry of associational leaders is integral to regional efforts to fulfill the Great Commission.

“Because of their relational investment in regional churches, associational mission strategists are respected leaders among the pastors in their associations,” said Chris Allen, assistant director of church and convention relations at SEBTS. “Their strategic position of influence makes them powerful Great Commission catalysts if they remain forward thinking. Southeastern loves sharing our Great Commission vision with these leaders as we work together to train and mobilize Baptists to serve the local church.”

With the goal of equipping and resourcing associational leaders for fruitful ministry, the AMS Conference offered more than 100 regional ministry leaders an opportunity to network, to learn best practices from other practitioners, and to explore resources for equipping and mobilizing local churches and pastors. This year’s conference added a unique practical element with panel discussions and workshops intentionally focused on applying best practices and addressing challenges in rural, suburban and metro contexts.

As the median age for pastors steadily increases, intentionally identifying and discipling young leaders is as important as ever, said Scott Pace, dean of The College at Southeastern and associate professor of pastoral ministry and preaching at SEBTS. During his workshop entitled, “Calling out the Called: Discipling Those Called to Ministry Leadership,” Pace encouraged associational leaders to help pastors reclaim the language of calling and disciple young Christians toward ministry leadership.

“It is a delight to host the AMS Conference on our campus each year,” said SEBTS President Danny Akin. “These gatherings are always marked by sweet fellowship, Gospel partnerships and a deep commitment to seeing the Great Commission fulfilled. It is my delight to encourage the leaders and pastors in our local Baptist associations because they work tirelessly as senders, supporters, and strategists for Great Commission ministries across our country and around the world.”

If you are interested in partnering with Southeastern at the associational level, we would love to connect with you. Please contact Chris Allen at [email protected] for more information.

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SEBTS Renew Conference to address ‘urgent Gospel issue’

By SEBTS Staff

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP) – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) announces a new one-day conference about Church renewal and revitalization on Sept. 9, 2022. Designed for pastors, church leaders and SEBTS students who are considering church revitalization ministry, the Renew Conference invites practitioners to a time of fellowship, encouragement and practical counsel.

“Church renewal is an urgent gospel issue,” said Keelan Cook, instructor of missiology and George Liele Director of the Center for Great Commission Studies. “We find ourselves at a critical moment in North America regarding the state of the church. Caught between internal generational transitions and massive external shifts in the culture around us, our churches face a moment that is both severe and urgent concerning their health and mission.”

Renewing and revitalizing churches requires prayer, endurance, Christ-like leadership, and many other works of the Holy Spirit. Although church revitalization is challenging, it is a strategic and urgent ministry as thousands of churches plateau, experience significant decline or close their doors every year.

That is why SEBTS is partnering with several state conventions and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to host a conference this fall on church revitalization to encourage and equip current leaders, pastors, and revitalizers as well as SEBTS students interested in Church revitalization.

The one-day conference, called Renew: Gospel Hope for Struggling Churches, will include breakout sessions on practical ministry strategies and plenary sessions on the state of the church, strategies for church revitalization and characteristics and practices of a church revitalizer. Lunch will be provided as attendees are encouraged to fellowship and to connect for future ministry partnerships.

“The Renew Conference represents something far bigger than a one-day event about church revitalization,” Cook said. “It is also about partnering together for the sake of the Great Commission. By working together in real partnerships like this, we each bring our strengths to the table and meet a need much bigger than a seminary, convention or mission board can confront alone.” Event partners include the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the SBC of Virginia, and the North American Mission Board’s Replant initiative.

To learn more about these event partners and to register for the conference, visit the Renew Conference event page.

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